Thursday, 27 September 2012

Flower Power!

Spring has sprung in the wonderful city of Cape Town. Everywhere there is a patch of grass, there are thousands of flowers popping up, ranging in colours of yellow, white, purple, red and orange. What a spectacular sight... What a spectacular promise of new life and sunshine. If you are in Cape Town, I would suggest taking a drive down the West Coast and maybe visiting Darling, which is the home of flowers. You would never think that our beautiful Cape Town could get any prettier, but alas, she has brought out her colour palette.

Taken from
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Braai for Heritage

Taken from
Aren’t we so fortunate as South Africans to celebrate our Heritage Day with a lekker braai? Foreigners wouldn’t understand it, but nothing is more South African than a braai (BBQ overseas). Wors, braai broodjies (BBQ’d sandwiches), potato salad, garlic bread, chops, pork rashers, pap and sauce... the list goes on of all the yummy local food that makes up a braai. Mmmmm, my mouth is watering as I think of it.

Besides the delicious food, the atmosphere of a braai adds to the splendour. Everyone stands around the braai and chats and laughs with a beer in hand. Good times with good people is how I would describe it. A braai is so special because it brings people and families together in a casual, fun environment. I would say that as a foreigner visiting our wonderful country, you haven’t experienced South African culture until you have joined in on a braai.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

What a great white experience!

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Great white sharks are the creatures we fear most when swimming in the ocean. We have all read numerous attack stories in the media and have seen their pure strength and aggression on film.  The fact that they are so powerful, large and ominous is probably why great white shark diving has become such a popular attraction around the world. Everybody wants an experience that is once in a lifetime and will get their adrenaline pumping and that is precisely why I have always wanted to do it. Two weeks ago, my wish came true and I got to look a great white in the eye!

My boyfriend and I woke early on a Friday morning and made our way to Gaansbaai, the home of shark cage diving and one of the most popular spots in the world to view these predators in their natural habitat. As we began the boat trip, our nerves and excitement were charged up. We finally dropped anchor at a place called Shark Alley and then the sightings began (after the chum was thrown in the water)! I will never forget the first time I saw a great white shark in real life.

It was as though all the fear and anxiety was replaced with pure excitement as we donned our 35mm thick wetsuits and jumped in the cage. Despite the icy water, I couldn’t get enough. As you submerge your head you are faced by these magnificent beasts circling the cage and swimming past to see what all the fuss is about. To my surprise they weren’t scary at all, just graceful and magnificent in their size. They are truly beautiful creatures, although I will admit that I would risk facing them without a cage.

The whole idea of a shark’s fin protruding out of the water when they swim was dispelled as this is not the case. One of the guides told us that if a great white wants to attack you, you will not see it approach you as it breeches from way below you. The tour operators are trying to save this creature by showing people that the “Jaws” perception is incorrect and that these are placid creatures who do not just attack for blood. In fact, great whites are very curious and because they do not have hands, they feel with their mouths and that is where the problem lies. Their rows and rows of serrated sharp teeth act like a knife and fork to human flesh and that is why you don’t want them to “feel” you!

All in all, it was an awesome experience and something to cross off my bucket list. I would recommend it to anyone! There is nothing more honest and real than staring a 3 meter monster in the eye and living to tell the tale! It is something I would like to do again one day.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

What constitutes a Capetonian?

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Originally from Gauteng, I have always wondered why I have such an affliction with Cape Town.  You see, I consider myself Capetonian through and through, even though I wasn’t born here. This got me thinking... besides being born in Cape Town and living here, what makes one a Capetonian?

Here are my reasons for considering myself a Capetonian:

I love the ocean and all that it entails. The cold water of the Cape does not bother me and I enjoy to surf and swim often. The beauty and variety of the Cape inspires me and makes me long for Cape Town when I am away. I am laidback by nature and the mode and pace of Cape Town allows me to live life at my own speed. The lifestyle here may not be one of wealth like Joberg, but it is one of safety and freedom. I love all that Cape Town is and am proud to live here. I love living here and cannot imagine living anywhere else.

What are your reasons for calling yourself a Capetonian?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cheers to a safe and vibrant CBD!

I must say that out of my experiences thus far, Cape Town CBD is run the best out of most South African towns. After travelling through the Eastern Cape recently and the Wild Coast and from seeing and hearing things about Johannesburg, I am even prouder to stay where I do. Most CBDs in South Africa are dirty but Cape town seems to be the cleanest I have encountered. There is crime in all CBD areas but at least in Cape Town you can still walk around town at night and party without fear for your life. Travellors from far and wide choose to stay in the CBD as it has so much to offer.

There is so much promoting our town and its vibrancy through the City of Cape Town initiative, whereas most other CBDs in other provinces are places that one HAS to go to for business, not out of choice.  Driving through some of the towns in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng  area scared me as you see muggings and hijackings in broad daylight as you drive passed. I don’t live in Cape Town CBD, but as a regular visitor I believe we have a great CBD! It is a place I want to go,  so full of cosmopolitan life and energy.
Cape Town CBD taken from

Commemoration of our heritage

Did you know that Cape Town just turned 360 years old this year? We have created a rich heritage and history during this time. Let us take a look at some interesting historical fact to commemorate this wonderful place...

• Asian immigration to South Africa started in 1654 when slaves from Malaysia were brought to the Cape, in turn encouraging the spread of the Islamic faith in Cape Town culture.

• Britain seized Cape Town from the Dutch in 1795. In 1803 it was returned to The Netherlands and, by 1806, was back in the hands of the British. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Cape Town was conceded to Britain, becoming the capital of the Cape Colony.

• Cape Town has its own unique mix of indigenous music called Ghoema, closely associated with the Cape Malay culture having its origins linked to the musical culture of the Malay slaves.

• Cape Town has the oldest wine industry outside Europe and the Mediterranean, dating back to 2 February 1659 when Jan van Riebeeck produced the first wine recorded in South Africa.

• Cape Town is situated on an underground river called Camissa, meaning “place of sweet waters”.

• Cape Town’s City Hall was built in 1905. On 11 February 1990 Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after his release from Robben Island, on the balcony of the City Hall.

• Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant in the world in 1967 in Cape Town at Groote Schuur Hospital.

• Hand axes made by Homo Erectus, dating back 750 000 years, have been found near Cape Town.

• In the 1500s, Portuguese sailors encountered storms as they sailed around the Cape Peninsula and dubbed it “the Bay of Storms”.

• Jan Van Riebeeck and Dutch East India Company settlers landed at the Cape on April 6, 1652. They had been sent to the Cape to establish a supply station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies.

• The oldest living tradition in Cape Town is the firing of the Noon Day Gun at Lion Battery on Signal Hill. The Noon Day cannons are also two of the oldest cannons in the world still in daily use.

• The original Table Mountain Cableway opened for business on 4 October 1929, transporting millions of visitors, as well as the current Queen of England, Elizabeth ll, to its smooth summit.

• The San and the Khoikhoi are the first recorded peoples of the Cape. The San were hunter-gatherers while the Khoikhoi were mainly herders.In later years, the Khoisan generation called the area Hoerikwaggo, meaning “mountain that rises from the sea”.
(Please note: Sources consulted -

A historical photograph of Cape Town station 1896 taken from

What to do in Cape Town in winter

Winter is half way through so this post comes a bit late. The cold weather leaves most wanting to hibernate but there is still much to do in this stunning place. We have a rich heritage so although we have to give up beach days and sundowners, we can replace them with other activities. Here are a few things one can do in the beautiful Cape during the chilly winter months...

Every day the noon cannon goes off at 12pm on the dot. One can go see this slice of history from 11.30 am everyday on Signal Hill. Don’t forget to cover your ears!!

The Company Gardens in Gardens is still a magnificent place to go for an afternoon stroll with a friend or loved one in winter. One can buy peanuts from a street vendor and feed the many pigeons and squirrels.
If you want to learn more about Cape Town’s history, then a visit to the Castle of Good Hope is in order. From here (weather permitting) you can also take a 3km tour through the old sewers of Cape Town which lead all the way to the base of Table Mountain (Visit the Good Hope Adventures website for more information).

The Castle of Good Hope taken from

If you feel like a swim but don’t have a wetsuit or aren’t brave enough to endure the cold ocean, you can visit the long Street Turkish Baths which offer you heated pools, a sauna and steam rooms.

Art fan? Visit the South African National Gallery just across from the Company Gardens. It is home to impressive works from around the world and exhibitions are constantly changing.

A day trip to the Iziko Museum is a must. It is a place full of knowledge and interesting exhibits and while you are there you can visit the Planetarium. It is a good day out for the family.

Go and have breakfast or lunch at Rhodes Memorial. It is a beautiful setting.
Me at Rhodes Memorial

Go wine tasting with friends along one of the Cape’s many wine land routes such as Durbanville, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek.

Of course winter dining is exceptional in Cape Town, but just watch you waistlines as there is a restaurant for everyone’s taste!